Books Acquired Recently

Butler, Octavia E. Lilith’s Brood. New York: Grand Central, 1989.

Butler’s Kindred is one of my favorite books, but I’ve never read any of her science fiction (SF) novels. This book, along with Card’s, is for an independent study I’m doing with a student this summer.

Card, Orson Scott, ed. Masterpieces: The Best Science Fiction of the Twentieth Century. New York: Ace, 2001.

This is a decent, cheaply-priced anthology, which is why I assigned it. But it omits Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany, and Joanna Russ, so I am having a difficult time taking it seriously. There’s no use pretending that only white males write SF any more.

Goodman, Linda. Venus Trines At Midnight. 1970. Charlottesville: Hampton Roads, 1998.

I bought this book because a friend recently sent me a lovely poem from it, “The Fish Meets the Water-Bearer” ( I began reading the collection tonight, and while many of Goodman’s poems rely too much on sing-songy verse rhymes and astrological imagery (the blurb describes her as “the world’s best-known astrologer”), enough of them contain lines that are either spot-on insights or beautifully-turned phrases to make the book an enjoyable one. Here are the last few lines from the title poem:

Now that we’re so intimately acquainted in dreams

for old times’ sake

couldn’t I run into your arms just once

when we’re alone–and awake?


hooks, bell. Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics. Boston: South End, 1990.

I love bell hooks but have read way too little of her work. This is one of her germinal essay collections.

Stross, Charles. Accelerando. 2005. New York: Ace, 2006.

I was considering this for my SF independent study and ended up not assigning it, but it looks fascinating and I have a book-buying addiction, so I bought it.

All purchased on

Published by danielshankcruz

I grew up in New York City and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; DeKalb, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah before coming to Utica, New York. My mother’s family is Swiss-German Mennonite (i.e., it’s an ethnicity, not necessarily a theological persuasion) and my father’s family is Puerto Rican. I have a Ph.D. in English and currently teach at Utica College. I have also taught at Northern Illinois University and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. My teaching and scholarship are motivated by a passion for social justice, which is why my research focuses on the literature of oppressed groups, especially LGBT persons and people of color. While I primarily read and write about fiction, I am also a devoted reader of poetry because, as William Carlos Williams writes, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet [people] die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Thinkers who influence me include Marina Abramovic, Kathy Acker, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Samuel R. Delany, Percival Everett, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, Walt Whitman, and the New York School of poets. I am also fond of queer Mennonite writers such as Stephen Beachy, Jan Guenther Braun, Lynnette Dueck/D’anna, and Casey Plett. In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games (especially Scrabble, backgammon, and chess), watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).

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